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desperately needing advice regarding sex problem

(18 Posts)
recentnamechange Tue 02-Oct-12 21:29:14

I've namechanged for this post due to the sensitive nature of it.

Basically, the problem is that I can't bring myself to have sex with my DP. Or any form of sexual activity where he can see my body. I just feel completely non-sexy / ugly since having our 2 DC, who are now in school. It didn't completely shut off as soon as the first was born, it was more gradual - after the first child I was more self conscious for sure, after the second I felt ugly but could still manage without huge problems but then another blow to my self esteem came when 2 years ago I was diagnosed with PCOS. I don't think it's a lack of libido itself, because I still get desire and still masturbate, still have desire for DP, it's just I completely clam up when he touches me or looks at me at all confused sad. I automatically put my hands up in a defensive way and it really is a mood killer! I just feel repulsive physically tbh.

Our relationship is not all roses however he does do his fair share of childcare, housework etc and we both work. I feel terrible for him as he is always saying how much he fancies me and finds me attractive, does not put pressure on although he does get frustrated and can't understand why I feel the way I do about myself in this way. He's attentive in the bedroom, or at least tries to be, I build up to it saying to myself this time it will be OK but then it always ends up perfunctory with me covering up and not letting him even touch me except from arms etc shock. He always looks so sad afterwards sad and he has said he wishes I desired him, but I DO. I feel it is ruining our relationship, poor DP hardly initiates sex now and when he does I can tell he is walking on eggshells. He's not a talker so it barely gets mentioned out with the actual event.

I've tried various things - getting away from the children, pampering, nice undies etc, I have been for long term counselling about other issues mainly but spent a long time focusing on my awful body confidence. However I don't want to dwell on it really I just want a 'quick fix'.

I just feel physically repulsive (not personality, my looks). I have dreadful loose skin and stretchmarks my midriff resembles a turkey's neck, small sagging breasts and even although I'm normal healthy weight due to the PCOS I have a pot belly. Also due to the PCOS I have fine hair and acne on my face and slight hair growth on my chin although I am on quite aggressive treatment which helps this. Not very womanly sad .

Beginning to think I actually have Body Dysmorhic Disorder (don't know much about it) because I am very harsh on myself to the point where I focus on parts of me and intensely HATE them.

Any help out there before I completely ruin my relationship?

BoredORpunched Tue 02-Oct-12 21:43:42

I was going to suggest this sounds like BDD in which case you will need to speak to your GP. I think you should anyway.
There is no real 'quick fix' and I think you know that but one of the most rapid and effective treatments is Cognative Behavioural Therapy (CBT) It can be effective in 3treatments. It is available on the NHS but be prepared to wait a loooooong time. Privately it's about £120p/h.

recentnamechange Tue 02-Oct-12 21:52:23

I had Cognitive Behaviour Therapy yonks ago when I was 17 - for anxiety - and it did help a lot, I still use some of the techniques I picked up today.

I asked about it about a year ago and was told by Mental Health Services that it is very very long waiting list in this area. Think she was trying to put me off tbh and get me to sign up for a 6 week general support group thing at my local health centre. I'd never want to speak about it in front of a group.

I could never afford more than about £20 a week for counselling. My long term one was £40 p/h but offered without me asking to drop it to £20 p/h after the first couple of weeks. It was Person Centred Counselling / Transactional Analysis.

NicholasTeakozy Tue 02-Oct-12 22:09:52

For free online CBT have a Google of MoodGym, it's pretty good.

And please believe me, he loves your body. He loves you.

Opentooffers Tue 02-Oct-12 22:11:56

I've known for years that I've had PCOS. I've also had a DS. These days I weigh about the same as before I had my DS, though I do remember shifts in body-fat distribution and, for a while, I put on weight in places I hadn't before after initially losing the baby weight due to a combination of breastfeeding and stress.
My stomach is fairly flat, though there will always be a bit of an empty floppy extra bit that is more obvious when leaning forwards.
I can't offer a quick fix - everybody wants one. I think it must of been about 5 years before my breasts got back some firmness (it does improve with time, will never be as pert as pre baby). The rest is up to you I'm afraid there is no magic to improve it, just awareness and exercise. I do far more exercise and am far fitter than before I had DS.

newname55 Tue 02-Oct-12 22:13:25

Hi recent. I've also namechanged as I was about to start a really similar thread. Hope you don't mind if I join yours.

Slightly different situation as I've been with DP for 3.5 yrs but we don't live together as we both have kids from previous relationships and live quite a way apart. I see him most weekends, and for the first 2 yrs of our relationship we had sex pretty much every time we saw each other.

For a while I very much enjoyed this, but increasingly it feels more difficult to turn it on, and while he certainly doesn't pressure me at all, I know he always wants to. I find it really hard to always be in the mood and feel guilty saying no when I know it's the only chance for a week or two. It's not like we can just do it tomorrow.

For the last six months I've been having recurring urine infections, (six urine infections - three of them turned to kidney infections making me very ill and needing strong antibiotics). This is making me even less in the mood as it feels like it happens after sex. I'm also in the early stages of menopause (early due to previous chemo) so wondering if this is making me less in the mood.

I'd be interested to see what your GP says. Hormones are very powerful things and I think PCOS has similar impact to menopause in reducing testosterone etc.


SarahL87 Tue 02-Oct-12 22:18:31

You say that it barely gets mentioned, maybe show him this page and ask him to help. It's easier letting him read this than sitting down for a difficult conversation. Then he might be able to understand how you feel and why?

Opentooffers Tue 02-Oct-12 22:20:28

...I have to be honest and say that the weight I put on post baby was due to eating more at the time and having no time for exercise. Once I made the time and ate less it dropped off. It's a big confidence booster. Don't expect miracles, your body is never the same post baby as pre baby. You can accept it or get depressed about it. You also have the power to do as much as you can about it, at the same time leading a healthier lifestyle so that you are around for as long as possible to be a part of your DC's life.

Opentooffers Tue 02-Oct-12 22:30:16

PCOS is more likely to cause an increase in testosterone (hence, the hairy chin -I empathise, pass the tweezers !). It does not necessarily cause a lower libido and chances are the OP could of had this since puberty and not known about it.
As she says she still gets the urge but is self-conscious about her body image as it has understandably changed.

Opentooffers Tue 02-Oct-12 22:36:41

55 As I understand it, the menopause can cause some internal dryness and the increased friction can irritate and in flame the urethral opening making it more susceptible to bacterial infections, the tissues can also become thinner and get damaged easier. Lots of lube should sort that out. Also, prudent to check no possible STI's as they can cause UTI symptoms too.

recentnamechange Tue 02-Oct-12 22:43:56

thanks for the link NicholasTeakosy I have been having a look at it and it does seem helpful. I really really need to try and kick this way of thinking because it is really making me depressed - not my body itself, I am not bothered about it in other ways I know childbirth causes changes, but just in a sexual way it is ruining my relationship and hampering my own desire for intimacy. I wish I could see it the way you put it that of course DP loves my body because he loves me. I seem to believe that my body, physical attractiveness and my personality are two completely separate things. My therapist actually remarked that it appears my me / my head is completely "cut off" from my physical body. Still not sure exactly what she meant by that but I get the jist of it I think.

Opentooffers I know exactly what you mean re - bodt fat distribution in PCOS. My arms and breasts and shoulders are really skinny (like size 6) my collar bone protrudes, my hips and thighs are about an 8/10 which are OK I like at least that I have some femininity, but my stomach is about a small 12 which is fine but I'm only 5ft1 and petite in frame with tiny breasts (32B) so it just looks all out of proportion. I'm only about half a stone heavier than I was when I was 17 and a size 6 however my proportions are all wonky and wrong.
My youngest is 5 now so I think my breasts are what they will be from now on. Funnily enough, it did take about 2 years after the second child for them to go back down to previous size (didn't breastfeed). They are pretty saggy I think just due to fluctuations in pregnancy and stretching. I too just knew I had PCOS for years before the GP would even order a blood test. I ignored the symptoms increasing (adult acne, hairy chin, less and less periods) until it couldn't be ignored any more because I just didn't want it to be true sad. The GP really angered me by saying "You are too slim to have PCOS, what makes you think you have it?" in an abrupt way when I asked for a simple blood test. Eventually managed to get it confirmed diagnosis though through bloods and scan.

newname55 I'm sorry you are also feeling a similar way sad, but it is reassuring to know others feel the same way. Your comment of finding it increasingly difficult to 'turn it on' resonates. I don't get "wet" much at all during sex which I find embarrassing but it's definitely emotional as on my own I do - TMI alert blush. Me and DP and children live together but he works very long hours and I also work p/t and do housework etc so we have very very little time together at all due to opposite schedules we'll have a couple of hours a couple of times a week maximum and he works away a lot too, so wish like you we could make use of the times we do get.
I'm sorry you have been through a tough time with chemo and UTIs. They are truly horrendous, I found pure UNSWEETENED cranberry juice to help as well as drinking huge amounts of fluids and peeing a lot stright after sex worked for me. PCOS is like menopause in some ways in that it hinders ovulation but it actually increases male hormones like testosterone (hence the hairy chin, fine air, acne, male tummy), so technically I have a good sex drive, just hate my looks. Menopause symptoms are caused by lack of estrogen I think, maybe your GP can help with a form of HRT but it depends on which cancer you had if you will be contraindicated for it completely. I take Vit B complex, Agnus Castus and Soya Isoflav which are supposed to be good for hormone balance but not sure if they are helping much x

Charliefox Tue 02-Oct-12 22:56:43

If you have desire and a wish for intimacy, can you find something you are comfortable with. Agree on it beforehand, so you don't get tense and nervous, thinking about where he might look or his hands might stray. Ask to leave the lights off for now, so it's all dark and shadowy. Then you might just agree that he can stroke your arms and shoulders and bite your neck, then enter you in the missionary position, for example. Sounds a bit mechanical but I reckon this might work for now as a shorter term solution.

recentnamechange Tue 02-Oct-12 23:00:06

Sarah That is a good idea. He really does not like emotional stuff at all , he just says stuff like

"You know I love you and fancy you and want you, I am so attracted to you. I don't understand it. Anyway, besides that it's not just the physical that makes a relationship it's only a small part to anyone who is evolved and not just shallow"

That was his text today.

At times he will get frustrated ie during sex if I clam up when he tries to touch my stomach or breasts at all -

"Not again, why does it have to be like this every time.."

He just thinks that I can 'snap out of it' and that if he tells me he fancies me then that should fix it just like that, he doesn't get that I am repulsed by myself and that mind-body connection is strong enough to ruin the feelings when trying to have sex.

I find it a little strange that I've told him I have been to counselling yet he never has asked about it once. He did all the things she suggested obediently when I told him (like having a bath together, non sexual intimacy first etc). But never mentions it. I think if he asks then he thinks I will go into a huge "talk" about it and he just wants to ignore it, bury head in sand and hope things improve, but it is obviously making him sad too.

Opentooffers I'm OK with my weight, just the proportions and saggy bits I hate hate hate. I go to legs bums and tums exercise class once a week and swimming and walk everywhere, also I am a health freak with food. I am happy that it makes my body healthier but from another POV I think well what is the point it doesn't make a difference to the loose skin (separated abdo muscles) or saggy breasts. Will persevere anyway.

I think I had PCOS from my teens as my periods were never regular, I had children quite young before the symptoms / hormones got a chance to really go crazy haywire when I was about 24.

recentnamechange Tue 02-Oct-12 23:10:14

Charliefox That is the extent of our sex life for years now. He kisses me , cuddles me and I start feeling into it, but the minute he tries to undress me especially top half or look at me or the time comes for me to act 'sexually' at all I just clam up and feel ugly and repulsive. So I make him switch the lights off and do missionary only where heaven forbid he tries to sit up a bit and look at me or touch me blush. We work funny shifts so most of the time sex is in the morning / early afternoon if we are both off work and the DC been dropped off at school. Nothing like harsh natural light, that really puts me off. You have given me an idea though to maybe try touching etc in the dark, touching of the parts I hate wouldn't have me cringing as much as if either of us could SEE them, so will try that.

I really can't fault him, he caresses me like I am the sexiest thing that ever lived confused and is eager to find out what to do that I would enjoy etc. Bless him, but I just wish I could respond / reciprocate.

WaitingForMe Tue 02-Oct-12 23:15:25

Someone posted a link some time back that featured loads of real naked women who had had kids. I remember a lot of posters saying they felt better after seeing other deflated boobs etc. Anybody remember what I'm thinking about?

newname55 Tue 02-Oct-12 23:25:42

Hi Recent

Thanks for reply. I agree it's reassuring to hear others are in same boat and like you I can't fault my DP but don't think it can carry on like this for ever. It's not really fair and it's making us less close.

Re the body image thing. I went through that a few years ago. Like most women my stomach and boobs were trashed post childbirth, but I wasn't with my daughter's dad by the time she was born so no sex for 3 yrs after birth. Didn't miss it too much at the time as too much else to do! but by the time I was ready to date again I'd built up a real fear of getting naked in front of a new man. In my head I thought it must be easier to get naked in front of the father, because at least he'd gained a child from all the stretch marks!!

I got some brilliant advice from a male friend. He said that any man in the mood for sex is always going to focus on your best bits. It's us women who focus on the bad stuff.

Easier to say than to believe, and probably sounds a bit pervy out of context!! It really helped me get it into perspective though.

Good luck x

TeiTetua Thu 04-Oct-12 15:38:43

WaitingForMe--could it be

Not sure if it's comforting or not! But at least you can see what normal is.

NicholasTeakozy Thu 04-Oct-12 20:01:41

I really can't fault him, he caresses me like I am the sexiest thing that ever lived confused and is eager to find out what to do that I would enjoy etc. Bless him, but I just wish I could respond / reciprocate

Sorry chuck, only just seen this and wish to respond thusly:-

He does that because to him you are the sexiest woman he knows. Get some counselling (on your own is better) and use online tools like Moodgym to change the way you perceive yourself. You can do it. smile

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